EC Defends Muhammad Nsereko's Victory

According to Musiime, the allegations of malpractices, illegalities against her and the Commission as well as cases of bribery are misconceived because there is no such an issue that was purportedly reported to her.
22 Apr 2021 18:56
Ticked ballots delivered at the tally center in Kololo
The Electoral Commission has defended the victory of the Kampala Central MP Elect Muhammad Nsereko. 

Nsereko’s victory in the January 14 elections was challenged by his rival Fred Nyanzi Ssentamu who stood on the National Unity Platform ticket. Nsereko garnered 16,998 votes while Nyanzi garnered 15,975 votes.

But Nyanzi argued that the polls were marred by several irregularities such as failure to count votes following Electoral laws, understating his votes, failure by the presiding officers to submit results from seven polling stations, inconsistencies in counting and tallying of votes on the declaration of result forms among other concerns.  

He also accused the Presiding Officers and the Returning officer of deliberately making a wrong entry on the final tally sheet by posting wrong votes and excluding results at some of the polling stations. This Nyanzi said affected the final results in the return form for transmission of results to the Electoral Commission.

Nyanzi asked the court to overturn Nsereko’s victory and declare him the legitimate winner of the polls or order for a vote recount or fresh elections.

However, according to the Electoral Commission which was sued alongside the Returning Officer for Kampala Central Division Doreen Musiime, the elections were conducted per the Constitution, the Electoral Commission Act, Parliamentary Elections Act and all other relevant laws.

"I aver and state that the election of the Member of Parliament for Kampala Central Division was free from violence, intimidation, improper influence and/ or conducted independently, transparently, administered in an impartial, neutral, efficient, accurate and accountable manner", reads Musiime’s affidavit in part.  

She says that the results from all the polling stations were transmitted in time, tallied and the winner declared immediately after the addition of votes each candidate obtained according to the declaration of result forms.  

"I would open, announce the votes for each candidate as recorded in the declaration of result form, scan and display in the projector to enable the candidates and or their appointed agents raise objections and no such objections were raised by the petitioner or his agents,” it adds.

  According to Musiime, the allegations of malpractices, illegalities against her and the Commission as well as cases of bribery are misconceived because no such an issue was purportedly reported to her.

The evidence before the court which URN has seen shows that whereas there was a mismatch of the results at Summit View A to J polling station by the Presiding Officer, the total number of ballot papers counted with the number of total ballot papers issued, this did not confer an electoral advantage to any candidate.

It adds that Musiime was informed by the Presiding Officer of Summit View ON to Z Polling Stations whose information she believes is true that there was no multiple voting or allegations of ballot stuffing and the election was peaceful.

"I aver and state that all the declaration of result forms for the alleged polling stations were signed by agents of the candidates and no objections were raised during the process of tallying of the results", adds the affidavit. 

The evidence further indicates that some of the alleged errors that were purportedly done by the Commission were sheer human errors resulting from prolonged fatigue and they did not affect the actual number of votes garnered by each of the candidates or confer an electoral advantage to any candidate.

According to Musiime, the margin within which Nsereko defeated Nyanzi was also far above the prescribed number of votes which says that the margin should more than 50 votes if the court is to order for a vote recount.

The Commission now wants the application to be dismissed with costs. 

However, Nsereko who is listed as the third respondent in the case has not yet filed his Defense after having been served with a copy of the petition a few days ago. The case is yet to be allocated and fixed for hearing. 

On Wednesday, the Mengo Chief Magistrates Court ordered Nyanzi to pay to Nsereko more than 38 million shillings as costs for an application he lost to him earlier seeking vote recount.

But Nyanzi has said that he is going to appeal against this taxation order.

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